Request for Proposal: Consultancy to Set a Baseline on: Reverse Extension for Building Market-Driven Consortia of SMEs and Farmers in the EAC

Solicitation Reference No. RFP/0265/TANZANIA/2020
Title of Solicitation Consultancy to Set a Baseline on: Reverse Extension for Building Market-Driven Consortia of SMEs and Farmers in the EAC
Issuing Office & Address Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Website:
Point of contact for clarifications, questions and ammendments AGRA General Procurement,
Email Address for submission of Proposals/ Quotes AGRA General Procurement,
Solicitation Issue Date June 5, 2020 East African Time.
Deadline for submission questions and clarifications June 9, 2020 12:00 PM, East African Time.
Deadline for Answering questions and clarifications June 10, 2020 12:00 PM, East African Time.  
Deadline for Submission of Proposals June 18, 2020 12:00 AM, East African TimePlease include the subject line “RFP/0265/TANZANIA/2020” of the email
Submission and Evaluation Criteria Bidder must provide the below listed information   Mandatory Eligibility Requirement   Technical Evaluation Criteria   NB. The minimum technical score shall be 75%. Only the best candidate shall be engaged for financial negotiations.  

Terms of Reference

Consultancy to Set a Baseline on: Consultancy to Set a Baseline on: Reverse Extension for Building Market-Driven Consortia of SMEs and Farmers in the EAC

Background and Introduction

  • The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is working with African Governments, International Development Organizations, the Private Sector, and Smallholder Farmers – in a partnership for inclusive agricultural transformation in Africa. One critical goal is to build Resilient and Competitive Food Systems that Drive Food and Income Security for the smallholder farmers and operators of businesses along the value chain from farm to consumers.
  • The  Africa Agricultural Status Report (AASR) published in 2019, provided a robust analysis of the role of SMEs, (which it dubbed the “hidden middle) in the food systems of Africa (AGRA, 2019). Findings and conclusions of the report shows that the SMEs are in fact the key players, since:
    • Eighty percent (80%) of food consumed in Africa reach the final consumers through trade by SMEs; and
    • About 96% of the trade in food is domestic with only 4% exported.
  • In its recommendations, the AASR called for a greater recognition and investment to enhance the role of SMEs in driving the food systems of Africa. A similar call was made in 2018 by FAO and GAIN by emphasizing increased efforts to leverage the SMEs to improve food and nutrition security. The report presented evidence of how SMEs play a significant role in getting healthy food to the consumers (FAO & GAIN, 2018). The SMEs being referred to here are those which are doing business with respect to:
    • Post-harvest handling and storage (warehouses and silos)
    • Value addition processing,
    • Trading (wholesale and retail), and
    • Transportation.
  • Since 2017, AGRA has been investing to catalyze and sustain inclusive agriculture transformation in Africa by increasing incomes and improving food security for 30 million smallholder households in Africa and to support countries on a pathway to attain and sustain an agriculture transformation.
  • At its 38th Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers, held in January 2019, the EAC approved its Regional Agricultural
    • Investment Plan (RAIP) with the following priority areas (EAC, 2019):
    • Regional agricultural production and food supply;
    • Enhancing food utilization;
    • Promoting agribusiness, value addition and Agro-industry;
    • Promoting sustainable natural resource use and management and;
    • Strengthening capacities of EAC regional agricultural institutions.
  • Effective Linking of farmers to markets in ways thatvalue and ensure consistent profitability for farmers, is critical to delivering the Goals of both AGRA and the EAC. The key question “HOW?” remains to be answered.
  • A recent assessment of the status of commercialization of smallholder farming systems, Kahuro and Ndiame (2020), concluded that:
    • Smallholder farmers already operate in a market system, but typically they reap few rewards.
    • Commercialization is about enabling them to use their resources (chiefly land and labor) more formally and efficiently as participants in well-organized value chains (VCs).
    • NGOs, governments, agribusinesses and other upstream actors can all play a part in achieving this. However, piecemeal efforts to address specific aspects of farmers’ productivity and/or market participation within a small part of a VC are unlikely to deliver sustainable results.
    • The most successful approach to commercializing smallholders locates them within the entire market system.
  • Given the significant role of SMEs in food handling, processing and trade, they play a vital role in linking SHFs to markets. However, this role is only partially recognized and used in developing and coordinating value chain partnership.
  • Therefore, the purpose of the work described in this Call, is to establish roles that SMEs can play through Reverse Extension. This extension starts with knowledge packages on market demand and preferences. The aim is enhance the understanding by the farmers of the quality, quantity and timely delivery expected by the market. This knowledge then drives the farmers’ plan for production and post-harvest handling. Certainly, agricultural development projects, including the Consortia supported by AGRA have worked with SMEs, but most of the attention is directed at direct extension to SHFs by NGOs; value chain partnership with suppliers of inputs, and then SMEs on the market side invariably come last. Therefore, the aim is to study the hypothesis that value chain partners led by market-acting SMEs would deliver better the rewards for the SHFs they collaborate with in the value chains with down-stream linkages to markets and up-stream linkages to supply of inputs.

Objectives of Assignment

  1. The main focus of the study in to establish:
  2. The Extent to which Market-Acting SMEs are investing in developing structured partnerships with SHFs;
  3. The extent to which the process of these partnerships use reverse extension driven by market information and commercial services;
  4. The extent to which past and on-going value chains development initiatives of AGRA and others have supported SMEs on this aspect;
  5. The high priorities of those SMEs in in terms of providing leadership in market-driven value chain development
  6. The most preferred development support to enable those SMEs to enhance their leadership without distorting the market.